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Issue #49 February 2003

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You'll spend hours wasting time at Show And Tell Music,
looking at weird album covers and listening to even weirder songs from those albums.
I promise, you'll have a blast!

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The High Score
Justin Connor
Alden Kahn and the KOs

The High Score
Sexy Losers

Lynn Point Records
12 song CD

This is a perfectly stunning release from this noisy little quartet from the great state of Tennessee. The High Score manages to take every known genre of rock and compound it into one solid mass of power pop. The group dabbles in everything from dissonance to straight-ahead roots rock, keeping their biting sense of humor just below the surface.

The beauty of it is that it's not cold and calculated---there's a true spirit of rock which is usually absent from contemporary groups who tend to lean nostalgic. They're having fun, and one listen to the song Motley Who is proof enough: "I must have been 13, me and my Walkman roaming the streets, what's a skinny little white kid supposed to do, but listen to Motley Crue." Meanwhile, they take on Clash-era punk with Baby Take A Look At Yourself and big guitar classic rock with Let It Go. As an revered philosopher once said, "You can't stop rock-n-roll."

MISH MASH Mandate: Too Fast For Love

The High Score Website

Circle Of The Sun

Beave Music
12 song CD

Jazzhole is back with their special blend of groove-a-licious acid jazz. They lay down the message with plenty of soulful singing, a la The Brand New Heavies, leaning lightly on the smooth funk sounds of 70s R&B. The basic formula is familiar, but the sounds are adventurous and new.

The album is most exciting when the songs take a turn into left field, like the psychedelic rhythms of Ndolo or the jazzed-out latin beats of Um Ritmo No Meu Sono. There's also a surprisingly groovy cover of Depeche Mode's Enjoy The Silence which completely changes the essence of the industrial pop original. These creative tangents keep the record interesting from beginning to end, without a dull spot in sight. Turn it on and take a trip.

MISH MASH Mandate: Heavy Duty

Jazzhole Website

Mind Games

Tube Club Recordings
3 song CD

There's only three songs here, but boy do they cook. UK-based Lender is all about the guitar, big, big guitar. It's like an unholy mix between Oasis and progressive metal; riff after huge riff with beautiful power pop melodies shimmering on top. The closest comparison I would dare to make is probably The Doves. These guys aren't shy about the guitar solos, either, which noodle on without apology. Nobody makes stuff quite like this anymore, and it sure as heck puts a smile on my face.

MISH MASH Mandate: Guitar-o-rama

Lender Website

Justin Connor
Behind The Sun

Wiry Pulse Music
5 song CD

This EP flows along in a drifting dream state, wrapped in the almost-whispered vocals of Justin Connor. It's a fantastically depressing pop sound, only once finding its way out of melancholy, which kind of reminds me of Joe Pernice/Pernice Brothers and Joe's tortured happiness. The one song which breaks out of this pattern is Crackerjack, which has sort of a ragtime piano feel to it. After that, Connor heads into a bizarre acid trip of a song, Lull In a weird way, it all fits together and becomes downright mesmerizing.

MISH MASH Mandate: Mesmotized

Justin Connor Website

Alden Kahn and the KOs
The Rise And Fall

Self-Released CD
20 song CD

I'm not even going to pretend like I understand this one, which is apparently some kind of concept album. The cover looks like a Soviet-era propaganda poster, yet the music sounds like Elvis Costello with a horn section. Don't get me wrong, it's good and it comes across like a fun pop record, I just don't know if I'm supposed to come away with some grand revelation.

Oh well, the music is grandiose and overstated, and beautifully produced. Mr. Kahn knows his pop, and this album moves with plenty of pure pop sensibility in a variety of genres, almost like some sort of twisted musical. Since there's 20 tracks represented here, it wears thin about halfway through---but when it shines, it really shines.

MISH MASH Mandate: Commie Pop

Alden Kahn Website

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